Gujarati Bhakri Pizza| Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

Ever heard of Bhakri Pizza? It is the Gujarati version of thin-crust pizza, and an eternal favourite of mine. The crust of this pizza is made using whole wheat flour, cooked crisp. So, so very delicious! This Bhakri Pizza is sold in street-side carts all over Ahmedabad, and I grew up eating and loving it. Today, I am here to tell you how to go about making it at home.

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza or Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

A closer look at the Bhakri Pizza

The base of the Bhakri Pizza is a bhakri, a popular snack in Gujarati households. Like I was saying earlier, to make the bhakri, wheat flour is bound into a firm dough, with a couple of other ingredients added in. The dough is then rolled out into small discs and cooked on a hot pan till crisp. They can also be baked in an oven.

The bhakri is crispy and crunchy, and holds the toppings of the pizza beautifully. It makes for a clever and wonderful replacement to the maida base used in regular pizza. Bhakri Pizza is definitely healthier and way lighter on the tummy, but every bit just as delectable.

A sweetish sauce is usually spread on the bhakri, which I prefer making at home from scratch, the healthy way. I also add a number of vegetables to the pizza, increasing its nutritive value. The addition of good, unadulterated grated cheese on top makes it all the more flavourful and healthier.

The loaded Bhakri Pizza is then cooked covered on a hot pan till the cheese melts, or baked for a short while. Voila – cute little pizzas are ready! They are perfect for evening snacks or a light dinner, for children and adults alike. We make these for dinner often, as everyone in the family loves them, including my little daughter.

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza recipe for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe for Bhakri Pizza is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #MunchkinMeals, wherein we are sharing healthy, kid-friendly recipes.

The theme for the week was suggested by Narmadha, author of the wonderful blog Nams Corner. I’m in love with this flavourful Paneer Tikka Pizza and this healthy Whole Wheat Cheese Burst Pizza from Narmadha’s blog. Can’t wait to try them out!

How to make Bhakri Pizza

The detailed recipe follows.

Ingredients (makes about 10 pieces):

For the bhakri base:

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 1 tablespoon oil + more for making the bhakris

For the pizza sauce:

  1. 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  2. 1 small onion
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1 tablespoon of jaggery powder or to taste
  6. About 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

For the toppings:

  1. 1 medium-sized capsicum
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 4 tablespoons sweet corn kernels
  4. 2 tablespoons red paprika slices or as needed
  5. Grated cheese, as needed
  6. Dried Italian herbs, as needed

Method:

1. We will start with preparing the dough for making the bhakris. Take the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Adding in water little by little, bind into a firm dough. When the dough is ready, add in the 1 tablespoon of oil, and knead a couple more times. Let the dough rest, covered, till we are ready to prepare the pizza, at least 15-20 minutes.

Preparing the dough for the Bhakri Pizza

2. Now, we will get the pizza sauce ready. For this, chop the tomatoes into quarters. Peel and chop the onion roughly. Puree the tomatoes and onion together in a mixer, without adding any water. Transfer this puree to a heavy-bottomed pan, and place on high heat. Cook on high flame till the mixture begins to thicken, 4-5 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The raw smell of the tomatoes should go away completely. At this stage, add in the salt, red chilli powder and sugar. Cook for a couple of minutes or till it thickens to a spreadable consistency. Switch off the gas and add in the mixed Italian herbs. Allow the pizza sauce to cool down fully.

Preparing the sauce for the Bhakri Pizza

3. In the meantime, let us get the toppings for the pizza ready. Chop the capsicum length-wise and the onion finely. Grate the cheese and keep it ready. Keep the sliced red paprika slices and sweet corn kernels ready.

Getting the toppings ready

4. Now, we will prepare the bhakris for the pizza base. Place a thick dosa pan on high heat. Divide the dough we prepared earlier into 10 small balls or so. Roll out each ball into a small circle, slightly thicker than a phulka roti. Prick some holes all over it, on both sides, using a fork – this will ensure that the dough does not puff up and that the bhakri turns out nice and crispy. Place the rolled-out disc on the hot dosa pan, and spread some oil all over it. Cook till brown and crisp on both sides, pressing with a spatula intermittently, ensuring that the bhakri does not burn. Prepare all the bhakris in a similar manner, and allow them to cool down.

Preparing the bhakris for the pizza

5. We will start making the pizza when the bhakris and the sauce have cooled down enough to handle. Now, spread some of the prepared pizza sauce on each bhakri, and lay out the toppings over it. Spread a generous amount of the grated cheese over the toppings. Cook, covered, on low-medium flame on a hot dosa pan for a couple of minutes or till the cheese melts. Serve the Bhakri Pizza immediately, cut into quarters and garnished with some dried Italian herbs.

The making of the Bhakri Pizza

Tips & Tricks

1. Some families add a bit of fine semolina aka sooji or rava to the wheat flour, to make the bhakri more crispy. We don’t.

2. I have used regular store-bought whole wheat flour here, from Ashirwad. I usually make this with flour ground from whole wheat in a mill, but we haven’t been able to do that in a while and hence the store-bought flour.

3. Some ajwain (carom seeds) can be added to the bhakri dough to make it more flavourful. I don’t, because my daughter doesn’t like it.

4. Use the more tart country (Nati) tomatoes – as opposed to ‘farmed’ ones – to make the sauce. They are more flavourful and make for a delicious sauce.

5. A few cloves of garlic can be added to the sauce too. I have skipped them here.

6. Sugar can be added to the sauce, in place of the jaggery powder. I prefer using the latter. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

7. Make sure you cook the bhakris on low-medium flame, till they get nice and crisp. Also, don’t forget to prick the dough on both sides – this is crucial.

8. I have used dried Italian herbs from Keya here. You can even make them from scratch, at home.

9. Use a good-quality cheese to make the pizza as healthy as possible. I have used Akshayakalpa’s organic Aged Cheddar here.

10. Use any veggies that you prefer as toppings for the pizza. Here, I have used whatever I had available. Olives can be added too, but I skipped them since I didn’t have any.

11. Any leftover pizza sauce can be bottled and refrigerated. It stays for 10-12 days when stored this way.

12. You can bake the bhakris instead of making them on the stovetop. I prefer the stovetop.

13. You may skip using the red chilli powder and turmeric powder in the bhakri dough, if you so prefer.

Did you like this recipe? Do let me know in your comments!

Instant Chhundo| Chundo| Gujarati Raw Mango Relish

Come mango season, and I can’t NOT think about Chhundo. Summers, for me, are incomplete without the making of Chhundo at home. This year, considering the lockdown situation, there was all the time in the world to make a batch. It’s all done, dusted, and bottled up! In today’s post, I am going to share with you all an easy method of making Chhundo.

What is Chhundo?

Chhundo – always ‘Chhundo’, never ‘Chhunda‘ – is a type of Gujarati relish made using raw mango and sugar. It is a sweet pickle, with a hint of spice to it. And it is a gorgeous, gorgeous thing! No wonder it is so very popular!

It goes beautifully with rotis, parathas, thepla, dhebra, farsi pooris and several other Gujarati snacks. You will usually find Gujarati families making this in bulk in the summer, when raw mangoes are at their best, storing it in big porcelain jars and using it right through the year till the summer arrives again. Yes, the Chhundo has a great shelf life.

Chhundo is great to pack in school and office lunch boxes, and makes for a great lunch travel companion, too. What’s more, it’s not a very difficult thing to prepare either.

The traditional method vs. the instant version

The Chhundo is traditionally prepared in a very interesting way. Raw mango is grated into a large vessel, then mixed with sugar. Once the mango releases water and the sugar is dissolved, the vessel is placed in the sunlight, with a clean cotton cloth tied over the top. Every evening, the cloth is untied and the mango mixture is stirred. The cloth covering then goes back on, and the vessel goes back to the sunlight the next morning. In 2-3 days, the sugar ‘cooks’ to a syrupy consistency in the sunlight. In about a week’s time, the syrup thickens further – all in the sunlight – and gets ready to store for an entire year.

Now, if you don’t have a constant stream of good sunlight or don’t want to do the whole shebang, there’s the instant version of making the Chhundo. Here, the mango and sugar mixture is cooked on the gas, and the Chhundo is ready in just about 20 minutes. It is this Instant Chhundo recipe that I’m about to share with you all today.

How to make Instant Chhundo

The detailed recipe follows. This is a completely vegetarian, vegan (plant-based) and gluten-free preparation.
Ingredients (yields about 1-1/4 kg):

  1. 1 kg raw mango, about 4 cups when grated
  2. 3-1/2 cups sugar or as per taste
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Peel the raw mango. Grate it thick. Collect the grated raw mango in a large, heavy-bottomed pan.

2. Add the salt, turmeric powder and sugar to the grated raw mango.

3. Mix the raw mango, salt and sugar well using your hands. Leave aside for 15-20 minutes.

4. After 15-20 minutes, the mango would have released a lot of water and all the sugar would have gotten dissolved. Place the pan on high heat at this stage.

Top: Step 5, Bottom left and right: Steps 6 and 7

5. Once the pan heats up, turn the flame down to medium. This should take 3-4 minutes. Stir intermittently. The mixture will be quite watery at this stage.

6. Continue to cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently. The mixture will start to thicken in 5-7 minutes, then keep an eye on it. Keep checking the consistency of the sugar syrup. Once it reaches a ‘sticky’ or half-thread consistency, switch off the gas immediately. Check out the video below to get an idea of what ‘sticky’ or half-thread consistency is.

7. Mix in the roasted cumin powder and red chilli powder, after the gas is switched off. Your Instant Chhundo is ready. Let it rest, covered, for 2-3 hours or till it cools down completely. Then, fill into a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and store.

Tips & Tricks

1. You can use any variety of raw mango you prefer. Raw mango that is not overly sour is preferred. Traditionally, a Gujarati variety of mango called Rajapuri is preferred. Since that is not available here, I use the Totapuri variety, which works equally well.

2. Grate the raw mango thick. If you grate it too fine, the mango will not be visible in the Chhundo at all.

3. You may skip the salt completely if you so prefer, or add in a bit more. It completely depends on your taste preferences.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use depending upon how sour the mango is. For about 4 cups of grated raw mango, 3-1/2 cups sugar worked perfectly for us. You may need to use more sugar if the raw mango you have is very sour.

5. You can use jaggery instead of sugar too, or use a mix of jaggery and sugar. I prefer using all sugar.

6. Make sure you keep a keen eye on the sugar syrup. Once the mixture starts thickening, it does so at great speed. If cooked beyond the half-string or ‘sticky’ consistency shown in the video, the Chhundo might get too thick. Ensure that you don’t cook beyond this point.

7. Ensure that the Chhundo is cooked on medium flame. Use a heavy-bottomed pan only.

8. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder and roasted cumin powder as per personal taste preferences.

9. Allow the Chhundo to cool down fully before bottling it. When refrigerated and used hygienically, it stays well for over a year. I just finished the lot I made last summer!

10. The Chhundo thickens up quite a bit upon cooling, so don’t worry if it looks a tad liquidy when you have stopped cooking.

11. Cinnamon, star anise and cloves are sometimes added (often whole, sometimes coarsely crushed) to the Chhundo, to stop it from getting overly sweet. I usually don’t add these whole spices – you may if you want to.

12. To make roasted cumin powder, I dry roast 2-3 tablespoons of cumin on medium flame in a pan, till fragrant. I then allow this to cool down fully, then coarsely crush it in a small mixer jar. I store this in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Aambe Dal| Raw Mango & Lentil Relish

Aambe Dal or Kairichi Dal is a thing of beauty, and I can’t be thankful enough that my grandmother introduced it to me. Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for this wonderfully flavourful Maharashtrian dish, the way I was taught by my grandma.

Aambe Dal aka Kairichi Dal

What is Aambe Dal?

Aambe Dal is a sort of salad, with an Indian touch to it. It is made using grated raw mango and soaked and ground chana dal – both of which give it interesting textures and an amazing, amazing taste.

This is a dish from the state of Maharashtra, as I was saying earlier. It is prepared on auspicious days like Gudi Padwa (Maharashtrian new year) and is offered to guests visiting home for haldi-kumkum. My grandma spent a large part of her life in a Maharashtrian colony in Ahmedabad, in the course of which she learnt several traditional Marathi dishes from friends and neighbours. This Aambe Dal is a recipe from her repertoire, which I was fortunate enough to learn from her before she passed away. I absolutely love this salad, and have fond memories of grandma preparing this for Sri Rama Navami, a summer festival when raw mangoes would be available in plenty. Sigh!

Aambe Dal or Kairichi Dal is a no-cook recipe, except for the tempering that is added in. This makes it a very, very simple thing to prepare – child’s play, almost! It is somewhat similar to the Tamilian Sri Rama Navami special Pasi Parippu Kosumalli, but there are indeed subtle differences between the two dishes.

#LittleChefs at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sure you know I’m part of this group of talented food bloggers, called Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of the group present recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

It was my turn to suggest the theme for this Monday, and I came up with #LittleChefs. For the theme, group members will be sharing easy recipes that children can prepare on their own or with minimal adult supervision. This is the need of the hour, I think, with India being under lockdown for about a month now, to combat the threat posed by the Corona virus. Schools and colleges are closed, parents are working from home. You’re allowed to get out of home only to buy essentials or in case of an emergency. I have been involving the bub in simple cooking activities and some small chores around the house, to keep her busy and her mind diverted. So have many other parents I know. I chose this theme so we can build a repository of kid-friendly recipes, and I’m sure it will be of great help to many parents.

This Aambe Dal recipe fits the theme perfectly. It is something children can whip up easily, and requires very few ingredients too. With raw mango being in season now, it is also a good way to teach kids about cooking with seasonal ingredients. This salad is full of protein, thanks to the chana dal, and requires very little oil, only in the tempering. In fact, you can skip the tempering altogether, and it would still taste fab!

How to make Aambe Dal?

Detailed steps for the making of Aambe Dal follow.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. It can easily be made gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available today contain wheat flour to a smaller or larger extent and are, hence, best avoided if you are following a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  1. 1 cup chana dal
  2. 1 large raw mango
  3. 2 green chillies or as per taste
  4. 1/2 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  5. Salt to taste
  6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

For the tempering:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard
  3. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  4. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

Top: Step 2, Bottom left: Step 1, Bottom right: Step 2

1. Wash the chana dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Add in enough fresh water to cover the chana dal fully. Let it soak, covered, for 2-3 hours.

2. In the meantime, peel the raw mango. Grate it thick and keep ready.

Top: Step 3, Centre left: Step 3, Centre right: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5, Bottom right: Step 6

3. After 2-3 hours, the soaked chana dal should have become quite soft. Drain out all the water from it and transfer to a mixer jar. Chop the green chillies roughly and add to the mixer jar too. Also add in the 1/2 tablespoon chopped coriander. Grind everything together, coarsely. You should be able to grind without adding in any water, but you may add in very little water if absolutely required.

4. Transfer the ground chana dal mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add in the grated mango, salt to taste, turmeric powder, jaggery powder, grated coconut and 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander. Mix everything together.

5. Now, we will prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Turn flame down to medium. Add in the asafoetida and dry red chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, without burning. Transfer this tempering to the mixing bowl.

6. Mix up everything well. Your Aambe Dal is now ready to serve.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of coconut and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.

2. I have used a large Totapuri raw mango here. You can use any variety of raw mango you prefer. Choose a firm, sour one for best results.

3. You can use sugar in place of the jaggery powder. In that case, you can grind the sugar too, along with the chana dal, green chillies and coriander. I prefer using jaggery powder, though.

4. Coconut oil works best, for the tempering. However, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.

5. Make sure you soak the chana dal for at least 2-3 hours. The dal should be soft and breakable with bare hands, when it is done soaking.

6. This Aambe Dal or Kairichi Dal can be had on its own, as a snack. We also like having it with rotis.

7. Grated or finely chopped cucumber can be added to the Aambe Dal too. So can grated carrot.

8. Dry red chillies can be ground along with the soaked chana dal and coriander, instead of the green chillies used here.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Khatta Dhokla| Gujarati Savoury Steamed Rice Cakes

Khatta Dhokla, anyone?

As much as we love having South Indian fare – idli, dosa, uttappam, rava upma, semiya upma, kuzhi paniyaram and the likes – for breakfast, Gujarati food finds pride of place on our table too. Dhokla, a steamed savoury cake from Gujarat, often makes an appearance at our place for breakfast or dinner. In different Gujju families, dhokla is made in different ways – using a variety of grains, in varying proportions. The Khatta Dhokla recipe I am sharing here today is from a childhood friend of mine, tried and tested several times over.

More about Khatta Dhokla

Khatta Dhokla‘, as the name suggests, refers to rice cakes that have a lovely sour taste to them. In this particular recipe, dosa rice is the star ingredient, with some urad dal and chana dal also being used. The sourness comes from the use of curd and from allowing the batter to ferment well.

Considering the batter is fermented, the dhokla turn out very soft and fluffy, without the need for cooking soda or Eno Fruit Salt. They are steamed in a pressure cooker, with very little oil used only in the tempering – this makes the Khatta Dhokla a very healthy and highly nutritious thing.

These Khatta Dhokla are also sometimes referred to as ‘Idada’ or ‘Safed Dhokla‘. This recipe, however, is different from the Idada that I had posted about earlier. Those are made using idli batter, while these call for a specific type of batter to be ground.

How to serve Khatta Dhokla

Well-made Khatta Dhokla taste absolutely delicious and are a joy to eat. They can be served on their own, without the need for any accompaniment. However, if you do need a dip of some sort with them, some green chutney or Kadhi Chutney would go beautifully with them.

Khatta Dhokla, cut and ready to serve

Are these Khatta Dhokla vegan and gluten-free?

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that can be easily made gluten-free by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India contain wheat flour to some extent and are, hence, not gluten-free. However, if you manage to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

Thanks to the addition of curd in the recipe, it is not vegan or plant-based.

Khatta Dhokla recipe for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is #NutriBrekkie, wherein all of us are showcasing nutritious breakfast recipes. The theme was suggested by Sujata, the very talented blogger at Batter Up With Sujata. Her blog is a treasure house of traditional Bengali dishes like Chhanar Dalna and Data Posto, including several innovative sweets like Chilli Rasgulla and Hazelnut Chocolate Sandesh. On her blog, there are also many unique bakes like Gluten-Free Fruit Cake, Eggless Litchi Loaf Cake and Orange Cranberry Cornmeal Cake that you would be hard-pressed to find somewhere else. Do check out her blog – it’s well worth it!

And, now, without further ado, here’s how we make the Khatta Dhokla.

Ingredients (makes 3 batches of 10-12 pieces each):

1. 1 cup dosa rice

2. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds

3. 1/2 cup whole white urad dal

4. 1/4 cup chana dal

5. 1/2 cup thick sour curd

6. 2 green chillies

7. 5-6 cloves of garlic
8. Salt to taste
9. Oil, as needed to grease the steaming vessel

For the tempering:
1. Oil, a few teaspoons
2. Mustard seeds, as needed
3. A little asafoetida
4. Some finely chopped fresh coriander (optional)
5. A few sprigs of fresh curry leaves

6. A few teaspoons of sesame seeds (optional)

Method:

1. Wash the dosa rice + fenugreek seeds, urad dal and chana dal well under running water, separately. Drain out all the excess water from the ingredients. Then, add in enough fresh water to cover the ingredients fully. Soak the ingredients separately for 6-8 hours or overnight.

2. When the ingredients are done soaking, drain out the excess water from them.

3. Transfer the urad dal to a mixer jar. Chop the chillies roughly and peel the garlic cloves. Add these to the mixer jar too. Add in the curd as well. Grind to a smooth batter. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel.

4. Now, transfer the washed and drained chana dal to the pan, along with the dosa rice. Add in a little water. Grind to a slightly coarse batter – neither too smooth, nor too coarse. Transfer this batter to the large vessel too.

5. Add salt to taste to the vessel. Mix both types of batter in the vessel well, using your hands.

6. Cover the batter and let it rest in a warm place in your kitchen, undisturbed, for 8-10 hours. By this time, the batter should ferment.

8. Once the batter ferments, it is ready to make Khatta Dhokla. In case you are not planning on using it immediately, it can be stored, refrigerated, for 2-3 days. To make the dhokla, grease a wide vessel using a little oil. Take some water in a pressure cooker base and place it on high flame, with a trivet placed inside. Place the greased vessel over the trivet. Allow the water in the pressure cooker base to start boiling, and for the greased vessel to get slightly heated up. Now, pour batter evenly inside the greased vessel, up to 1/4 inch in height. Close the pressure cooker. Cook on high flame for about 12 minutes, without putting the whistle on. Switch off gas.

9. Wait for about 5 minutes to get the cooked dhokla out of the cooker. Meanwhile, prepare the tempering. Heat a little oil for the tempering, in a small pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Now, turn the flame down to medium and add some curry leaves, sesame seeds (if using), and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Pour this tempering evenly over the cooked Khatta Dhokla. Cut the dhokla into pieces, using a spatula. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (if using). Serve hot or at room temperature. Prepare dhokla from all the batter, in a similar fashion.

Tips & Tricks

1. I don’t usually add any cooking soda or Eno Fruit Salt while making these Khatta Dhokla. If you prefer, you may add in a bit to make the dhokla fluffier.

2. Use day-old slightly sour curd while grinding the batter, for best results.

3. Make sure the batter is well fermented, before proceeding to make the Khatta Dhokla.

4. Adjust the number of green chillies you use in the batter, as per personal taste preferences.

5. Ideally, steaming for 12 minutes on high flame is just right to cook the Khatta Dhokla. The cooking time might vary depending upon the water content in the batter, level of fermentation and make of pressure cooker. You should be steaming the dhokla till a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

6. I prefer giving these Khatta Dhokla a simple tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. You can use more or less ingredients in the tempering, as you prefer. Some Gujjus do not temper these dhokla, but serve them with a generous dousing of red chilli powder or black pepper powder.

7. You can grind the batter as fine or coarse as you prefer. I usually grind the urad dal fine, keeping the dosa rice and chana dal ever so slightly coarse.

8. Do not add much water while grinding the batter for the Khatta Dhokla. The batter should be thick with only very slight runniness.

9. As mentioned above, any leftover batter can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days, and used as needed. I use leftover batter to make dosa and kuzhi paniyaram, and they turn out quite delicious too.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Pressure Cooker Undhiyu| Gujarati Mixed Vegetable Curry

For me, winter is incomplete without gorging on Undhiyu at least a few times. I grew up in an undhiyu-making South Indian family in Gujarat, and can’t not make it when all those glorious winter veggies are at their bountiful best. That’s so not done! We make a relatively healthy version, in a pressure cooker, as opposed to the way it is traditionally made. I’m here today to share with you all our easy recipe for Pressure Cooker Undhiyu.

What is Undhiyu?

If you are wondering what on earth Undhiyu is, let me begin by telling you that it is a celebration of winter, of all the lovely vegetables that are in season in the cold months. Think yam, carrots, sweet potatoes, hyacinth beans, pigeon peas, fenugreek leaves…

Undhiyu is a Gujarati dish, made using a mix of these winter vegetables. Traditionally, Undhiyu is made in an earthen pot or matka – the veggies are stuffed with a fragrant coriander-coconut-peanut masala, then layered in the pot, then sealed and set upside down to cook in a sand-covered pit. The name of the dish comes from the process of inverting the pot for cooking – inverting is ‘undhu‘ in Gujarati, hence ‘Undhiyu‘. It is also referred to as ‘Matla Undhiyu‘, thanks to the way it is cooked in an earthen pot (‘matlu‘ in Gujarati).

It is sheer delight, this dish. It is so flavourful and hearty that it would make one fall in love with winter veggies, if they aren’t already. For Gujaratis, Undhiyu is more than just a dish. It’s an emotion, as it is for me too. It is a popular accompaniment to pooris and phulka rotis in Gujarat, a must-have on the festival of Uttarayan.

About Pressure Cooker Undhiyu

The traditional method of making undhiyu is quite laborious and time-consuming. Moreover, these days, hardly anyone has access to a sand pit where one can cook! 🙂 With time, Undhiyu began to be cooked in a pan on the stovetop, but the process still remained tedious and tiring. This Pressure Cooker Undhiyu is a rather simple, much easier way of cooking the dish – a cheat’s version, if you want to put it that way.

Once you have the veggies chopped and some basic prep work ready, making the Pressure Cooker Undhiyu is a matter of minutes. I don’t stuff the vegetables with masala, but add it as is to the pressure cooker – works just fine! It needs very little oil, as opposed to the oodles that goes into making Matla Undhiyu. I don’t deep-fry the veggies, the way I have seen some Gujarati families doing. I do deep-fry the Muthiya or fenugreek-leaf dumplings that go into the Undhiyu, but you could make them in an appe/paniyaram pan if you want to cut down further on the amount of oil used.

How to make Undhiyu in a pressure cooker


Let’s get to the recipe for the Pressure Cooker Undhiyu now!


I share this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the blog hop this week was suggested by yours truly – #WinterDelights. Today, all of us are presenting winter-special foods on our blogs, and I felt it would be apt to share this recipe for one of my eternal winter favourites.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable for those following a plant-based diet. It can also easily be made entirely gluten-free by avoiding the asafoetida used in the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

  1. About 4 heaped cups of chopped veggies
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1 tablespoon oil
  4. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  6. 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 3-4 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  9. 4-5 green chillies
  10. 8-10 cloves of garlic
  11. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  12. 1/2 cup peanuts
  13. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  14. About 1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander + some more for garnishing
  15. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste

For the muthiya:

  1. 1 big bunch of fenugreek greens (methi leaves), roughly 2 cups when chopped
  2. 2 cups gram flour (besan)
  3. Salt to taste
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. Red chilli powder to taste
  7. A fistful of fresh coriander
  8. 1/4 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  9. 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)
  10. 1-2 tablespoons jaggery powder or as needed
  11. Oil, as needed for deep-frying

Method:


First up, prep the vegetables required for the Undhiyu.

1. Peel the carrot, potato, sweet potato, elephant foot yam and raw banana, then chop them into large pieces.
2. Remove the tops from the eggplants, and chop into large cubes. 3. Chop the cauliflower into large pieces.
4. Remove strings from the hyacinth beans and cut them off into halves.
5. Keep a generous quantity of shelled green peas, hyacinth beans and pigeon peas ready.

Next, we will prepare the masala for the Undhiyu.

1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till crisp, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.
2. Let the peanuts cool down fully, then coarsely crush them in a mixer. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the fresh grated coconut and 1 cup of finely chopped coriander to the mixing bowl.
4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop roughly. Remove the tops from the green chillies, and chop them roughly too. Grind the green chillies, ginger and garlic to a paste in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Add this paste to the mixing bowl too.
5. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well together. The masala is ready.

Top Left: The veggies, prepped and ready to go into the Undhiyu; Top Right: The masala for the Undhiyu; Bottom Left: Sesame seeds and carom sputtering in the pressure cooker; Bottom Right: The veggies going into the pressure cooker


Now, we will start cooking the Undhiyu.

1. Take the oil in a large pressure cooker, and place on high flame. When the oil gets nice and hot, add in the sesame seeds, carom seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
2. Add all the veggies to the pressure cooker.
3. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder, along with about 1/2 cup water and the masala we prepared earlier. Mix gently, considering the cooker will be almost full to the brim.
5. Close the pressure cooker, and put the weight on. Cook for 2-3 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

Top Left: Salt, jaggery and turmeric added to the veggies; Top Right: The masala goes into the pressure cooker; Bottom Left: The dough for the Muthiya; Bottom Right: The Muthiya getting deep fried


In the meanwhile, we will prepare the Muthiya.

The Muthiya, deep-fried and ready to go into the Undhiyu


1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the gram flour.
2. Add the finely chopped fenugreek leaves, salt, turmeric powder, jaggery powder, finely chopped coriander, red chilli powder, carom seeds, sesame seeds and asafoetida. Mix well, using your hands.
3. Use a little water to bind the ingredients into a soft, pliable dough that is not too dry.
4. Heat oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Let the oil get nice and hot.
5. When the oil is hot enough, form small oval shapes from the dough. Drop them into the hot oil, 2-3 at a time. Deep fry on medium flame till brown on the outside, taking care to ensure that the muthiya do not burn. Transfer to a plate when done.
6. Deep fry all the muthiya in the same way, without overcrowding the pan.

The Undhiyu, pressure cooked and ready


Lastly, we will prep the Undhiyu for serving.

1. When the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, open it. Add in lemon juice and the muthiya we prepared.
2. Taste and adjust salt and jaggery powder if needed. If the spiciness is less, you may add in some red chilli powder.
3. Mix well, but gently. The Undhiyu is ready to serve, once the muthiya have soaked for 20-25 minutes. Serve garnished with finely chopped fresh coriander, with pooris, rotis or parathas.

Tips & Tricks


1. Groundnut oil works best in Undhiyu. However, any oil of your preference can be used.

2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use, as per personal taste preferences.

3. Typically, a large quantity of coriander and generous amounts of peanuts, garlic and coconut are used to make the masala for the Undhiyu. Don’t skimp on these ingredients – they add a whole lot of flavour to the Undhiyu.

4. The vegetables typically used in making Undhiyu are – Hyacinth beans (avarakkai or sem ki phalli), shelled hyacinth beans (avarakottai or sem ke beej), eggplants (kathrikkai or baingan), carrot, shelled green peas (patani or matar) , shelled pigeon peas (thuvarai kottai or hare toor), elephant foot yam (senaikizhangu or suran), raw banana (vazhakkai or kachha kela), cauliflower, potato (urulaikizhangu or aloo), sweet potato (sakkarai velli kizhangu or shakarkand). You can use these in any proportion you like – they should be about 4 heaped cups when chopped and ready. You can use any variety of eggplants. Personally, I like using a generous quantity of shelled pigeon peas, hyacinth beans and green peas in Undhiyu.

5. The traditional Gujarati Undhiyu uses a local variety of flat bean (called Papdi) and purple elephant foot yam (called Ratalu). However, these two vegetables aren’t very easy to find everywhere. Hence, I do away with the purple yam completely and use regular hyacinth beans (sem ki phalli) in place of the Papdi.

6. I use a large 8-litre pressure cooker to prepare the Undhiyu.

7. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder you use, as per personal taste preferences.

8. Pressure cook the veggies for 2-3 whistles, depending upon how firm/soft you want them to be. I prefer 3 whistles. Ideally, they should be cooked through, but not overcooked. The veggies should retain their shape and not get too mushy.

9. Adjust the quantity of fenugreek leaves you use in the muthiya, as per personal taste preferences.

10. Some people add the muthiya to the undhiyu just before serving. I prefer adding the muthiya to hot undhiyu, letting them soak for 20-25 minutes before serving.

11. The dough for the muthiya should be firm, but neither too dry nor sticky. If it gets too dry, add a bit of water. If it gets too sticky, adjust it with a little gram flour.

12. To test whether the oil for deep frying is hot enough, drop a little piece of the muthiya dough into it. If it  immediately starts to rise to the surface, the oil is just right – at this point, you should reduce the flame and start deep-frying the muthiya. If the dough doesn’t rise and settles down at the bottom of the pan, it indicates that the oil needs to get hotter.

13. You can layer the vegetables in the pressure cooker, too. Place some of the root vegetables at the bottom, spread a layer of the masala on top of them, then spread some more root vegetables over them. Again, another layer of masala, then one of the raw banana, cauliflower, eggplant and hyacinth bean pods. Another layer of masala on top, then the shelled hyacinth beans, green peas and pigeon peas. Finish with a layer of masala on top. You can add in the salt and turmeric powder on top – it gets evenly distributed when the veggies cook.

14. Some people add a mix of coriander (dhania) powder and cumin (jeera) powder to the Undhiyu. Some prefer adding a dash of garam masala. I usually do away with these ingredients.

15. Make sure you chop the veggies slightly large, so that they don’t get overcooked and too mushy.

16. Any leftover Undhiyu can be refrigerated and used the next day.

17. If you can get your hands on green onion and garlic, do use them in the Undhiyu. I’m not a big fan of green onion and, hence, haven’t used it. We don’t get green garlic here in Bangalore, so I haven’t used it either.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!